Keep warm and stay cool with the Peppermint West End Jacket – our latest free pattern that traverses seasons as easily as it traverses the false binary of gendered clothing categories! This exclusive, highly wearable pattern was created for us in collaboration with fabulous French patternmaker Camimade Patterns and is brought to you in partnership with our good friends at Spoonflower.
Founded in 2019 by Camille Neuville, Camimade Patterns focuses on helping free people from the cycle of fast fashion and unlocking the creativity and satisfaction that comes from making your own clothes.
“I believe everyone has a sprinkle of creativity in them – if not a handful – that deserves to get out and shine rather than being frustrated by hours of pointless shopping,” Camille says. “I don’t like fashion, especially fast fashion. I believe in personal style and durable clothing. I don’t like shopping, I believe in meaningful hand-making. I don’t like throwing away clothes – or anything else actually! – I believe in re-wearing, re-styling and upcycling.”
In the spirit of going behind the seams, we caught up with Camille to learn more about her label and to rack her brain for tips and tricks when creating the jacket.
Tell us about your journey into the sewing world…
When I was a child, my dream was to become a fashion designer. I was drawing clothes and sewing dresses by hand for my dolls. I fell into the sewing world little by little but “officially” became passionate about sewing in 2009 when I joined a student sewing club to design and sew my first ball dress. Since then, I’ve never stopped designing and sewing clothes: special occasion dresses first, and then everyday clothes. Now, I don’t buy clothes. Three years ago, I decided to turn my passion into a full-time job and created Camimade Patterns. I thought that I had so much energy that was being wasted in my previous corporate career and that I could use it for a meaningful project which I could share with others.
What motivated you to stop buying RTW clothing?
I made this decision because I couldn’t stand giving my money to companies responsible for exploiting people on the other side of the world and in return getting poor-quality clothing. Being able to sew my own clothes has given me the freedom to choose. As a result, I haven’t bought a new piece of clothing in three years (except a coat and nursing clothes). I took just one sewing course in my life and I have learned the rest by myself, so anyone can make that choice too.
What inspires your patterns?
Trends do not really move me and I much prefer basic clothes that last in my wardrobe. I am inspired by basic shapes and I make them unique by playing with the details – seam placements, finishes – which are inspired by nature or clothes I’ve seen somewhere: from my favourite designers, on Pinterest, in the streets, during my trips.
What do you love most about the sewing community?
When you put a pattern out there, it’s not yours anymore and I love to see how sewists around the world use the same patterns differently. But really what I love the most about the sewing community is its kindness and ability to make the sewing world evolve and change for the better.
We just adore the Peppermint West End Jacket! Any tips and tricks for sewists when creating it?
Thank you, I love it too! My main tip is to not be impressed by the flat-felled seams and take your time, they are just seams. Making a few tests using fabric scraps is always a good idea.
How did you approach gender-neutral design in regard to the West End Jacket?
Most gender-neutral clothes are from the men’s department and I just don’t see how this is neutral. So with the West End Jacket, I thought we shouldn’t only take references from men’s wardrobes. My approach was to bring a bit of femininity with the rounded collar, to balance the classic men’s worker jacket look and get to a more neutral point. But you could argue that the rounded collar is actually a men’s wardrobe reference: the men’s “club collar shirt”, worn by the Peaky Blinders in the famous TV series, has a rounded collar!
As for the fit, body shapes don’t have neutrality. So I decided to draft the pattern using a B-cup bust across the whole size range, which will be fine for most women with small busts and men. Women with a bigger bust may have to do a full bust adjustment though. My hope is that the West End Jacket will be a nice one to sew and wear whatever gender you identify with.
What fabric do you recommend?
For a basic wardrobe staple that you will wear year after year, blue denim is a good choice. You could also choose a corduroy for a mid-season jacket that will never go out of fashion.